Oktoberfest is, as the name suggests, a festival held every fall in Munich. It is not a Bier(beer) festival, as most people think. It is actually a party celebrating the anniversary of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. It is the world’s largest funfest. Below are some of the foods that there are at Oktoberfest:
Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork) , Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezen (pretzels), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), and Sauerkraut (red cabbage).
The 6 million people that come there annually consume 1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausages, and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens during the 16-day party. I got the Schweinebraten recipe below from whats4eats.com:
6 to 8 servings
- Pork butt or shoulder — 4 to 6 pounds
- Caraway seeds — 2 tablespoons
- Salt — 1 tablespoon
- Pepper — 2 teaspoons
- Oil — 2 tablespoons
- Onions, roughly chopped — 3
- Carrots, roughly chopped — 3
- Water, stock, white wine or beer — 1 cup
- Flour — 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Butter — 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Rub the pork all over with the caraway, salt, pepper and oil and marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Remove the meat from the refrigerator from 30 minutes to an hour before roasting to let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the onions and carrots and place in the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to comfortably fit the roast. Pour the water, stock, white wine or beer into the pan.
- Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover the pan with foil, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil from the pan and turn the roast fat side up. Cut crosshatches in the fat in a diamond pattern, but try to avoid cutting into the meat itself. Place the roast, uncovered, back in the oven. Roast for another 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours, or until the roast is tender and well browned on the outside. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast should read 165°F.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
- Knead the flour and butter together with your fingers to make a doughy paste and set aside in a small bowl. Strain the pan juices from the roasting pan into a sauce pan. Save the vegetables to serve with the roast if you like, or use instead of butter and flour to thicken the gravy (see variations). Add enough water, stock, wine or beer to the pan juices to make 2 cups.
- Bring the pan juices to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk small pieces of the butter-flour paste into the pan juices until the gravy is thickened to your liking. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Slice the roast thinly and serve with the pan gravy on the side.
- To thicken the gravy without using flour and butter, puree 2 cups of the pan juices with some of the roasting vegetables and strain.
- Finish the gravy with a little butter, cream or sour cream if you like.
- Other seasonings that can be rubbed into the pork before roasting include marjoram, minced garlic or your favorite mustard.
Oktoberfest has many tents. There are some orchestra tents, the Hippodrom tent, and many more. Have any of you heard of the costume and riflemen parade of Oktoberfest? It is in honor of the silver wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese. It took place in 1885 for the first time. Maximilian Schmidt started another one in 1895 with 1,400 participants in 150 costume groups. Since 1950, this has grown to be one of the largest parades of its kind. On the first festival Sunday, 8000 participants march in the parade in their historical costumes seven kilometers to the grounds. For Oktoberfest, the traditional dress for women is the dirndl. The men wear something called a lederhosen.
Has anyone ever been to the Munich Oktoberfest, or any near you?